No one enjoys being part of a tenant dispute, and if you have tenants who are difficult during or after the lease term, you need to know how to resolve the situation without allowing it to escalate. While the courtroom is always the ultimate option when it comes to settling problems with your tenants, the legal system is really best avoided. California is notoriously tenant-friendly, and a lawsuit or a court hearing will only cost you time, money, and peace of mind.
Here are three things you need to do when you’re trying to settle a Santa Cruz tenant dispute.
Consult Your Santa Cruz Lease Agreement
Start with your lease agreement. This is the document that should govern how you manage your relationship with your tenants and what you should do when something happens. Whether your tenant isn’t paying rent, complaining about other tenants, refusing to allow maintenance people inside the home, or keeping an unauthorized pet – the remedy will be found in your lease.
Of course, you’ll need to have a strong lease in place already that protects you, your property, and the interests of your tenant.
Send your tenant a copy of the lease and highlight the part that pertains to whatever dispute you’re having. This will take care of easy conflicts because your tenant signed that lease agreement and is required to follow it.
Over-Communicate with Your Tenants
Any time there’s a conflict with a tenant or a dispute about something that should be done, make sure you’re communicating openly and transparently. Hold your tenants accountable, but hold yourself accountable too. It’s better to over-communicate in situations that are tense. Check in whenever you can to make sure there hasn’t been an escalation or a new problem.
This is especially important during maintenance issues. Perhaps your dispute surrounds getting a problem fixed at the home. The tenants may feel you’re not doing enough fast enough. Keep calling them and emailing them to provide updates so they know you’re working as hard as you can to resolve their issue. Always answer their calls and respond to their concerns.
Document Everything You Agree To Do
Assuming you and your tenants come to an agreement and settle the dispute, make sure you document the decisions that were made and the action items that were assigned. For example, if rent is two weeks late and your tenant has promised to pay in full within 10 days, make sure you sign a payment arrangement that reflects the promise.
You never know whether the dispute you’re currently having will come back and hurt you later. It’s important to document every conversation and every action that was taken. This will protect you if the matter does wind up in a courtroom.
We understand that tenant relations can be one of the most challenging parts of renting out a home. We’d like to help. Please contact us at Real Estate Eight Three One. We can answer all your Santa Cruz property management questions.